Can Using My Cell Phone Lower My Grades? - A Study of Correlations between Cell Phone Use and Academic Performance

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Richard Wielkiewicz, Psychology


Ever since arriving at St. John's University I thought, "Man these people text a lot!" Everyone is always on their cell phones. Even during class people would be texting away. I tried it myself, but found that it hindered my ability to pay attention to the material in class. I wondered if texting in class could actually lower your GPA. Freshman year I sent out a confidential and anonymous survey as part of the course requirements for my Applied Behavioral Statistics course. The survey asked students whether they regularly sent text messages while in class, and for their cumulative GPA. I found a significant difference in GPAs of those who did send text messages in class (M = 3.01; SD = .333) and those who did not (M = 3.34; SD = .421), t (73) = 3.82, p = .000. The effect size for this difference was .893. I am now working on a follow study that includes a plethora of questions about cell phone usage as well as questions on motivation, life-long learning, and leadership qualities. My job is to find correlations between all of these variables. What I am mainly looking for is to see if there is any correlation between cell phone use, academic performance, and the other variables in the survey. I anticipate finding many significant correlations between the cell phone use, academic performance, life-long learning and motivation. My data will not be able to draw causal conclusions, but hopefully the statistical correlations will be a useful tool for teachers, parents, and kids.